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Officials to harvest experience from overseas

11-24-2010 14:47 BJT

The national capital's Dongcheng district is planning to have officials serve temporary positions in government departments in countries such as the United States and Japan to learn from their governance experience, district authorities said on Tuesday.

The district will send civil servants to study in prestigious universities and work in multinational companies, international organizations and in the government sectors of some developed countries, according to a draft plan for talent development in the district for the next 20 years.

As Beijing plans to build itself into a "world city" like London, New York and Tokyo, it urgently needs a group of government officials who have international vision, Xiang Xudong, an official with the organization department of the Communist Party of China Dongcheng district committee, told China Daily.

"We hope the project can become a window for officials to know and learn good governance and management experience from overseas," he said, adding that each official will stay in the position for at least one year.

Officials specialized in a particular field will be sent to work in a corresponding sector in foreign government departments, Xiang said.

"Beijing has many sister cities across the world, and we're going to contact them and negotiate the project," he said.

Beijing introduced such a practice in 2003. Since then, the Dongcheng district has been cooperating with the Jongno district in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in sending officials to each other's government sectors to serve temporary posts once every two years.

"As of the end of 2009, we had sent three officials to Jongno to work in sectors such as city planning and tourism. And we have received two officials from the Republic of Korea," said Chen Dapeng, head of the Dongcheng government's foreign affairs office.

"Each of them served in the post for six months in the past, and this year we have extended the duration to one year," he said.

Liu Xutao, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said as Chinese metropolises become more open to the outside world in the face of globalization, it is a good idea to send officials to work in foreign governments.

Liu said simply receiving training or visiting abroad would not largely help Chinese officials learn much about the governance or management pattern of their foreign counterparts.

"To serve a temporary post in their government sectors will help in this regard, but it does not mean that we should copy all their deeds into practice," he said. "Instead, officials should take this chance to learn how to explore our thinking."

But Liu warned that public opinion may be concerned about the cost of the project, since many officials have been blamed for using public money for tours abroad in the name of official visits or investigations.

"Only if the money is properly spent can the aim of the temporary civil service abroad be achieved," he said.

In addition, a special fund will be set up for talent development with an expenditure of at least 50 million yuan ($7.5 million) every year to award top performers and attract overseas talent, according to the plan.

The district also plans to make 20 percent of its officials acquire overseas training experience by the year 2030.

Officials said the draft plan is now soliciting public opinion and a more detailed plan will be released next year.

By Chen Xin, China Daily

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: China Daily

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